Tag Archives: VHS

Saturday is Horror Day #32 – Dark Water, V/H/S

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Dark Water


Yoshimi Matsubara (Hitomi Kuroki) is going through a difficult divorce. Her husband wants custody of their almost six year-old daughter Ikuko (Rio Kanno), but Yoshimi refuses to entertain the idea. Not in the best of financial situations, Yoshimi moves herself and her daughter to an older apartment building, anxious to put down roots quickly so she can keep Ikuko with her. The apartment has issues, including water spots on the ceilings, but the maintenance is less than stellar.

While exploring the building by herself, Ikoku discovers a red bag containing an assortment of little girls’ toys, but her mother won’t allow her to keep it. She leaves it with the building’s maintenance man, who puts it into the lost and found. And yet it inexplicably turns up among Ikoku’s things. A distraught Yoshimi throws it away herself.

 

Yoshimi is under a great deal of stress, with a new job and having to pick up Ikoku from kindergarten. She is often late, which stresses Ikoku out too. The leak in the apartment has only become worse. Yoshimi thinks maybe it’s the people above them, so goes upstairs to talk to them. But no one answers her knock. Yet when she is in the elevator, she sees the door open, and a small figure in a yellow raincoat appears. When Yoshimi goes back up, though, there is no one to be seen.

Yoshimi wants to move, immediately, but her lawyer advises her that would not look well, especially


since Ikoku would be forced to change kindergartens, and stability is what is needed in the situation. Yoshimi isn’t sure how much longer she can take all this water. People say that there is something wrong with the water and some won’t even touch it. 

Yoshimi spots a flier in the building about a little girl who went missing in 1999. A little girl in a yellow raincoat.  She is worried that someone or something is trying to take Ikoku away from her, and she is determined to do everything in her power to prevent that.

On one level, perhaps this film can be seen in terms of symbolism. The leaking roof of the battered apartment building being the leaky relationship that is their marriage.  On another level, it’s a horror movie about a missing little girl who just wants to be found and loved.  There are parallels between the two girls, Matsuko and Ikoku, with both of them waiting at the preschool to be picked up, feeling alone and abandoned. Yoshimi is so desperate to keep her daughter with her that she becomes almost irrational in her actions when faced with the idea of losing her. To some, her actions might be understandable, but they are also open to misinterpretation by her husband’s lawyer. Damned if she does, and damned if she doesn’t.

As the roof gets worse and worse, so does Yoshimi, until you begin to question is she really seeing what she thinks she is? A complex horror story, Dark Water was well worth watching, and somewhat sad. I’ll give it a sold 3.5 Stars.

V/H/S


Brad (Adam Wingard) and his friends are always up for a good prank, and love to record themselves performing them, even if they are in questionable taste. So when someone wants to hire them to break into a home and steal back a VHS tape, they’re up for it. To their dismay, they find an old man has expired inside the house. But at least he won’t bother them, right? The trouble is, there was no indication exactly which tape is wanted, and there are a whole bunch of tapes. So while the others search the house, Adam sits down to view some of the tapes. And what he sees is…. well, disturbing.

Three drunk young men who get themselves thrown out of a night club because of their behavior, end up taking two girls to a motel room for some fun. One is very willing, at least until she passes out. The other girl is a little strange. But what the little head wants… well, any port in a storm. One guy is kind of shy but interested, and allows himself to be coaxed into a threesome, while the third guy just sits on the couch and laughs his head off. But things go a little awry.

 

A couple go on a road trip together. But at their motel, a strange young woman beats on their door, wanting a ride. After she leaves, they’re a bit creeped out. They’d be even more creeped out if they could see what she did while they were sleeping.

A young woman and her boyfriend are separated by miles but stay in touch through Facetime. She’s a little nervous in her apartment, and wakes him up in the middle of the night, having heard something. He tells her that nothing is going on. And when she insists that something is wrong with her arm, he tells her he’ll take a look at it in a week, when he is there. But when she wakes him again, he begins to see she is not alone…


A guy is ecstatic when a girl he’s interested in invites him to a park for some alone time. Except another couple is coming with them. And apparently she told the other girl it would be a girls day. So, what exactly is going on here?

A few friends are excited to attend a Halloween party. But when they arrive at the address they’re given, there is no sign of life, so they begin to look around the old house. Maybe this is the set-up and they have to figure out where the party is happening. When one of them goes into the basement, in search of the party, he reports hands coming out of the walls. The others think that is pretty cool. But what they find next isn’t quite so cool.

This is a collection of found footage stories. The title stands for video horror shorts, and these are. Shot in found footage style, I have to say the beginning seemed a little slow and I wasn’t sure I was going to continue to watch. But I did, and I’m glad. As the stories progress, you begin to see the inherent horror in each. I’ll tell you this right now, this film is not for the squeamish. I found it exceedingly creepy, and more than a little jaw-dropping. But that’s what you want in a horror film, right? This is the kind of film you find yourself shouting at the characters to watch out ’cause they can’t see what you do, and you are afraid of what is about to happen.

 

I would not want to live through any of these scenarios. This was definitely well worth watching. As I said, I don’t scare easily, but this had a definite creep factor. And I watched it in the daytime. I can only imagine that being magnified if I saw it at night. I’ll give it a solid 4.5 Stars.